|Alert Leopard on a boulder in Bera|
Trying to sight a Leopard (Panthera Pardus) in a jungle is perhaps no different than trying to find a needle in a haystack. On the many trips to the jungles of India, with some patience and luck, one can have excellent sightings of tigers, lions, even the shy sloth bear, and other mammals. But the leopard is an elusive beast. It can hide itself in any nook & cranny of the jungle, is smaller than the other carnivores, enjoys excellent camouflage, prefers hunting in the night, and with its acrobatic skills can perch itself on trees and boulders. Even if sightings occur, they are more in the nature of blink and you miss it. Though, we have heard stories of people seeing a leopard, sitting nonchalantly in plain view of the human eye, in the jungles of South India, such reports have been fewer from those of North India.
Despite several trips in the wild, we had thus far been unlucky in the matter of leopard sighting. The closest we ever came to sighting it was when we spotted a leopard’s kill but, not the perpetrator himself!
No longer wanting to leave things to a chance, we decided to take matters in our own hands and headed straight to Bera, a dusty village in southern Rajasthan amidst the Aravalli mountains and surrounded by water bodies. Here our abode was Thakur Devi Singhji’s orchard or rather the Leopard’s Lair Resort as it is officially called.